At A Certain Angle

I was very excited this week, well, for a little bit anyway. My publisher had arranged for me to do a virtual author event at a very big conference. There haven’t been many opportunities to do ANY kind of promotions thanks to stupid COVID and the never-ending lockdown, so I was pretty pumped, and had what I thought was a great time slot. Then, yesterday morning, I was scrolling through Facebook and found an article about a TV show based on a book that had just been cancelled due to some major controversy about the show’s director. But the name of the author who had written the book in question seemed familiar…and sure enough, it was the writer who was doing a virtual session in the SAME TIME SLOT AS ME and no one will be coming to my event now if they have to choose between a well-known writer embroiled in controversy and a little-known writer who just says F*ck a lot. My heart sank faster than—well, I was going to say the Titanic but people died when that ship sank and I’m just sad—so let’s just say ‘faster than a really heavy rock’. But the rock was VERY heavy and I was VERY sad, so I did what any normal person would do—I bought a clock. And if you know anything about me at all, you’ll know I love clocks and that I have, currently, 45 clocks of which 16 actually work.  I didn’t actually NEED another clock, but this one was so pretty and such a good price that I couldn’t resist. I’ll resell it as soon as the antique market where Ken and I have a booth reopens (it’s also currently shut down thanks to stupid COVID and the never-ending lockdown), but for now, I have it by my desk where I can admire it.

And then I had to go and cancel out the joy that clocks bring me by also buying a small Persian rug from a guy for a very good price. But how could buying a rug possibly lead to an absence of joy, you ask? Well, here’s the difference between a clock and a rug: when you put a clock somewhere, it doesn’t move. The hands might, if it’s a working clock, but aside from that, it pretty much stays in one spot. Rugs, on the other hand (or should I say ‘on the other foot’, bwah hah hah) are a double-edged sword. I adore them, but they also have a nasty tendency to shift around when people or dogs walk on them. And the other thing you probably know about me is that my OCD, which is usually fairly mild, flares up when I’m stressed out. It isn’t bad most days—in fact, you might not even notice it, unless you look around my house and realize that all objects of décor are organized in specific patterns, or you’ve watched me put groceries on the conveyer belt according to size and shape and with one inch of space between all items, or you’ve seen me in the bathroom washing my hands simply because doing that fills me with a sense of profound relief, or you’ve noticed my dermatophagia.

But lately, I’ve been under a lot of stress. I also suffer from what I call “Straight Line OCD” or what experts call “an Extreme Need for Symmetry and Exactness”. Do you have any idea what kind of torture it is to simultaneously have an extreme need for symmetry and exactness as well as a house full of rugs that are constantly out of place? Why don’t you get rid of the rugs, you ask? Because it’s an old house with pine floors, and we need the rugs to stop the floors from getting damaged, muffle the creaking of the floorboards, and stop our feet from getting cold. Plus, when they’re nicely centred on the floor, they’re very beautiful. Why don’t you get those rug gripper things, you ask? I have them under every damn rug and they don’t work!

But I don’t blame the rugs. I mean, it’s not like they’re deliberately askew-ing themselves. No, I blame Ken, who walks on them constantly, and especially the dog, who likes to run through a room at top speed, sliding on them and misaligning them. So I literally spend all my time straightening rugs. And if, right now, you’re like “Why don’t you just leave them? Who cares if they’re on a weird angle?”, WELL, KEN, IT MUST BE NICE TO BE YOU.

I feel bad for the dog though. His favourite game is something we call “Boogedy Boogedy” wherein he has a toy, and I pretend I want it, so I chase him around the kitchen island and then suddenly change direction, confronting him as I yell Boogedy Boogedy, then he takes off into the family room. There are, unfortunately, four rugs involved in this scenario.

Atlas: Ma! Do you want my toy?
Me: I most certainly do. I’m gonna get you and when I do, I’m gonna eat you!
Atlas (running) Hee hee!
Me: Boogedy boogedy!
Atlas: Wheeeee—wait…why are you stopping?
Me: I have to straighten the rug.
Atlas: Are we done playing? ‘Cause I’m just going to mess it up again.
Me: I know.

The most exhausting part of the game isn’t running after the dog—it’s having to constantly stop to straighten the rugs.

And I thought I was off the hook earlier in the week. I was supposed to pick up the rug, and when I got to the guy’s house, it wasn’t where he said it would be, which was rolled up in a bag behind his garage. I messaged him and he was confounded. “I put four rugs out, each in their own bag, labelled with people’s names,” he said. Later, he messaged me that he’d looked at the security camera footage and saw that someone else had taken ALL rugs, instead of just the one they bought. And I was like “Oh, that’s OK, and also I wasn’t dancing while I was waiting at your door, I was jumping up and down from the cold.”
(Narrator’s Voice: She was indeed dancing, having been unaware that there were, indeed, security cameras.)
But then on Friday, he messaged me that he’d gotten the rug back, so what choice did I have? So yes, another rug to straighten. But between that and chasing the dog, I’m staying in shape and no matter what angle you look at it from, that’s a good thing.


36 thoughts on “At A Certain Angle

  1. Sorry to hear about your time slot with that “other” author Suzanne. I can definitely say you way more interesting, funny and the fact that you fuck a lot, well that’s just a plus. OCD in any form is horrible, I don’t suffer from it, at least I don’t think I do. But, that’s what makes you Suzanne, the buyer of clocks, dog lover and Kens comedic side kick. More power to you! Oh and wine helps, a lot of wine,🍷🍷🍷🍷

    Liked by 2 people

  2. While I can display some OCD tendencies, they mostly show up at work where I demand organization and tidiness. Stocking shelves generates a lot of trash, and I have one box for cardboard, one box for plastic wrapping, and one box for stuff that actually has to be throw away. My wrath will descend upon anyone, even a manager, who dares to throw their garbage in the wrong box! At home I’m a completely different person who gives zero fucks about organization or tidiness…. other than keeping things where I use them! Half of the things one would normally store in the kitchen are kept in my computer room where I spend most of my time, including eating!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love that clock! I don’t know what it is, but lately I’ve been interested in collecting things–mostly glass starfish and virtual racing medals. (I run for 30 minutes on a treadmill twice a week and reward myself with a virtual 5k medal for one of those days quarterly. I call that day a “race.”)

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    • You don’t reward yourself with glass of wine? You’re a better woman than I am! I’m such a collector–I don’t know what it is about clocks that I love so much, but I just can’t help myself!


      • No–that’s for when I’m done lifting weights. Nate and Alex have been training me to lift weights/do squats in the evenings, and when I’m done, I drink water first and then either beer or wine–then I make dinner:)

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I can relate and using a wheelchair or a scooter makes it very easy to dislodge the moorings of rugs. I only have two, in the bathroom. I just bought new ones and they have no rubber backing, so pitas! And yes, anxiety sets in as I’m sitting and see one out of kilter….oh my, the troubles we have😄🤪🤗

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  5. Looks like a good place for a rug — where you can trip and tumble down the stairs.

    There’s a netflix show The Repair Shop and every other episode features some dead clock someone with bad teeth needs fixing because grand-mam would want it to work again. Having said that, I’ll admit I’m addicted, and not only to the weird antiques UK folks treasure, their happiness at seeing a relic restored is pretty touching.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ooh, I’ll have to watch that! We just binge watched Blown Away and I need something new. The only person who has an issue with the rug being there is Atlas—one day he hit it running and almost when on a magic carpet ride down the stairs!

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  6. The rug battles. They never end. Tucker likes sharpening his claws on rugs, moving them around for me to straighten. The wife likes putting on her exercise shoes and rubbing the rugs to get up cat fur. Then she collects it and shows it to me. “Look at all this cat hair. Look at it. I do this every day.” Yes, I know.

    The dust battle also never ends. And laundry. How much laundry is too much? Can’t we just wear the same clothes again? The smell can be enticing – try it.

    And dishes. How often must the dishes be washed?

    Sorry. Got sidetracked. Rugs, yeah, sympathy. I straighten them. No one else notices, but I do. It’s my duty.

    Have fun at the author event. I know you’ll do well. Just don’t forget there’s a camera and start dancing.



  7. I hope several people do show up for your talk even if you’re competing with someone whose work has the taint of scandal to it. Maybe they’ll stay away from the other talk because of the scandal and you’ll get even more participants than usual. Also it seems like a virtual talk would be better suited to you with your OCD, so there is a bright side to dumb, stupid COVID and the neverending lockdown.
    Also I’m relieved to hear that you play boogedy-boogedy with Atlas. We play something similar, although usually in the yard because the house is too small, which might at least be a partial solution if you can manage it. I’m sure Atlas likes to run outside and when Ken doesn’t see anything wrong with the rugs being at weird angles you can put him out in the cold and make him dance.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I love your game with Atlas! Ha ha. Try that “Alien Tape” they advertise on TV. Apparently it works on rugs. AND ALL KINDS OF OTHER STUFF! You would have everything in your house in perfect order. It would be amazing. And a beautiful clock!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I used to play a version of “Boogedy Boogedy” with the family cat Lunch. I’d chase him, then he’d chase me, and then I turned the tables on him and switch directions so I was coming up behind him. And I was running, and chasing, and I was like “where did the little bastard go” so I double-backed and ran past the passthrough in the kitchen. Apparently, he was like “the hell with this game!” That demon cat jumped up on the counter from the other side, ran across it, and jumped on me full-body as I ran past “rawr rawr rawr I got you!” I imagined he was saying. He was one smart cat!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Sorry about your time slot – if it were me I would choose the author that says f*ck a lot over anyone, any day!
    You would hate to see my living room, a rug on a wooden floor in a house inhabited by a 3-year-old is never straight!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. We have a area rug in our kitchen that I was forever repositioning so that it was centered between our island and the sink. Then one day I caught my husband repositioning it so that it was in front of the stove and part of the sink. He said “i always have to fix this thing. It should be in front of the stove.” He is more OCD than I am. It seems off to me but I can live with it.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. A few years ago, we (finally) had the atrocious wall-to-wall carpeting in our rental apartment ripped up and replaced with faux-hardwood laminate. The latter was hardly a longstanding dream of ours, but it is exponentially preferable to the former. We enjoyed having no carpeting under our toes so much, in fact, we’ve yet to put down a single area rug — a surefire way to maintain symmetry!

    Liked by 2 people

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